2014 NFL Mock Draft: Cowboys trade up into top five
Will Brinson's final 2014 NFL Mock Draft features the Cowboys getting weird and trading up to No. 5 overall.
The finish line is here. No more mock drafts for a few months after this one, what with the real thing going down Thursday night.
To be perfectly honest, I came down with a fever on Wednesday night, so it's possible these picks are the delusional ramblings of a hotel-ridden madman. Oddly enough, I wasn't sick when I mock traded a mock trade although that may say more about my general state of mind than anything else.
Ultimately I don't think Atlanta wants to pay the price for Clowney, but Mack will be cheaper and they want a pass rusher.
I also think Dallas will -- or should? could?? -- do whatever is necessary to get Aaron Donald on their roster. Oakland's a quality trade partner at that spot with Watkins and Robinson off the board so why not get weird with it.
1. Houston Texans -- Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina — Fun fact I didn’t realize until this week: Bob McNair, the owner of the Texans, is a South Carolina alumni. No wonder the Texans have to get an RG3 haul to justify moving out of this spot. They’re taking the best player.
2. Atlanta Falcons (VIA MOCK TRADE with St. Louis Rams , via Washington Redskins ) -- Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo — Thomas Dimitroff knows he needs a pass rusher and there’s only one great one left on the board. Mack fits perfectly with the offseason moves Atlanta’s made, shifting to more of a 3-4 defense. Dimitroff can slide four spots up and swap with his buddy Les Snead for a relatively prohibitive cost as well.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn — It’s not the sexiest pick in the world but if Robinson fulfills his potential he’s going to be really, really good. He can be a productive run-blocking right tackle (or guard) immediately and is a nice counter to the Texans pick of Clowney. Picking good players isn’t a bad thing.
4. Cleveland Browns — Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson — They definitely need a quarterback but that’s the beauty of having two first-round picks. Ray Farmer can gamble that someone will fall to him at 26 and grab the best wideout in the draft here instead.
5. Dallas Cowboys (VIA MOCK TRADE with Oakland Raiders ) -- Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh — Imagine the pandemonium at Radio City and on TV when it’s announced that Jerry Jones comes flying up to No. 5 and everyone thinks he’s grabbing Johnny Manziel. But he’s actually coming up to get the most productive defensive tackle in this draft and a perfect fit for the Cowboys scheme, into Rod Marinelli’s hands. The truly logical trade is with the Vikings at No. 8, but maybe Minnesota’s the primary team Jones has to hop in order to keep Donald away from Mike Zimmer. Reggie McKenzie shouldn’t be scared of trading down in a deep draft with Oakland’s lack of talent on the roster.
6. Detroit Lions (VIA MOCK TRADE with St. Louis Rams, VIA MOCK TRADE with Atlanta Falcons) — Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M — The Lions saw first hand what a pair of “rebound receivers” can do for your offense and their depth chart is slim behind Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate . Seriously, who’s stopping this offense if Jim Caldwell gets Matthew Stafford going right? And, yes, we’ve gone full Inception with this mock, mocking a trade of a mock trade. Someone help me.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M — Liked this so much in my last mock I’m sticking with it. The Buccaneers aren’t going to chase Manziel but if he comes to them, why not? Josh McCown isn’t the long-term answer, they clearly don’t like Mike Glennon and Manziel is a potential future superstar.
8. Minnesota Vikings -- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State — Minnesota has lots of needs (including quarterback) and improving the secondary should be on that list as well. Gilbert’s a speedster and could pair to become lockdown corners of the future with Xavier Rhodes .
9. Buffalo Bills -- Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan — Protecting EJ Manuel and creating holes for C.J. Spiller are paramount needs for Buffalo heading into the draft. Cordy Glenn can stay on the left side and let Lewan transition. Either way they’ve got some flexibility.
10. St. Louis Rams (VIA MOCK TRADE with Detroit Lions) — Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M — Jeff Fisher finally takes an offensive lineman in the first round. I wouldn’t be doing this except Matthews fell a lot further than they expected and they snatched up a bunch of extra picks in the process.
11. Tennessee Titans -- Blake Bortles, QB, UCF — Big-bodied, small(er) school kid who could be groomed under Ken Whisenhunt after going No. 11 overall? That sounds familiar.
12. New York Giants -- Zach Martin, OL, Notre Dame — Versatile offensive lineman can help the Giants protect Eli Manning and attempt to rejuvenate the running game.
13. St. Louis Rams -- Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama — Dream scenario for Les Snead and the Rams. They land a lineman and the best safety in the draft and manage to pick up a few more picks for their trouble.
14. San Francisco 49ers (MOCK TRADE with Chicago Bears ) — Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU — San Francisco loves this smooth, explosive athlete to help improve the 49ers passing game. They’ve got to get in front of Pittsburgh to guarantee they land him and have plenty of ammunition to move up.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech — Pittsburgh needs cornerback help and there’s plenty of good guys in this draft, including the physical Fuller, who would be a big-time improvement for the Steelers from the get go.
16. Oakland Raiders (VIA MOCK TRADE with Dallas Cowboys) — Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State — This works out perfect for Reggie McKenzie, who takes his guy, buys himself some job-retention time with a young quarterback and trades down to land the same guy.
17. Baltimore Ravens -- Eric Ebron, TE, UNC — With the top three wideouts off the board, Ozzie Newsome decides to snatch up Ebron, a talented, versatile athlete who will diversify the Ravens playbook and give Joe Flacco another bail out option.
18. New York Jets -- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA — Rex Ryan’s thrilled to land a pass rusher who no one expected to be sitting there at 18 on the board.
19. Kansas City Chiefs (MOCK TRADE with Miami Dolphins ) -- Brandin Cooks, WR, OSU — The Chiefs feel like they have to get past Philly to nab Cooks and they need a wideout to complement Dwayne Bowe . The speedy Cooks is just that.
20. Arizona Cardinals -- Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State — The speedy playmaker is a versatile linebacking weapon as the Cardinals continue to build their defense. LOT of mocks have the Cardinals going quarterback here. If Bortles falls (and he doesn’t in my mock) it’s entirely possible.
21. Green Bay Packers -- C.J. Mosely, LB, Alabama — Pro-ready player with injury red flags still feels like a steal here.
22. Philadelphia Eagles -- Marqise Lee, WR, USC — Chip Kelly’s seen first hand the damage Lee can do — the Trojans wideout had 12 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns against Oregon in 2012 and eight catches for 187 yards and a score against Kelly’s team in 2011.
23. Miami Dolphins (MOCK TRADE with Kansas City Chiefs) — Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia — A massive man of a tackle, Moses can start on the right side and serve as insurance in case free agent addition Branden Albert doesn’t work out. He claims he’s “ambidextrous” on the line.
24. Cincinnati Bengals -- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State — The luxury of having a strong roster means you can take some chances on a player. Roby has red flags but he’s also got a ton of talent.
25. San Diego Chargers -- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State — Tom Telesco’s been plucking value for the Bolts since coming over as their new GM last year and he does so here again. Dennard is a steal having fallen this far.
26. Cleveland Browns (from Indianapolis Colts ) -- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville — In the end he didn’t make it out of the first round after all. What a freaking first draft for Ray Farmer, who came away creating an offense for Cleveland that could scare some people next year.
27. New Orleans Saints -- Dee Ford, DE, Auburn — Tempted to give them a wideout but they always find those later in the draft ( Marques Colston , Kenny Stills , Nick Toon all apply here) so instead lets hand Rob Ryan another pass-rushing weapon.
28. Carolina Panthers — Jason Verrett, CB, TCU — He fell because he’s smaller and the cornerback class is pretty deep. Panthers fans might riot because Dave Gettleman didn’t take a wideout or offensive lineman, but the man is going to stick to his board and take the best player available. Love Verrett in the modern-day NFL.
29. New England Patriots — Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois — Nearly blew my draft up trying to find a reason for Rick Speilman to trade with Belichick back into this spot. But there’s not a quarterback worth moving for and the Pats have to like landing a physical safety with cover skills who can ballhawk.
30. Chicago Bears (VIA MOCK TRADE with San Francisco 49ers) — Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville — They get they a playmaker who can impact their pass defense and run defense in a positive way. And they get the bonus picks of moving down.
31. Denver Broncos -- Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt — I don’t get why people don’t like this kid. Want to knock his speed? He ran a 4.44 at the combine. He goes higher if he hadn’t played college at Vanderbilt. Rich get richer, Denver restocks, etc.
32. Seattle Seahawks -- Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri — This doesn’t feel “wild card” enough for John Schenider and Pete Carroll but they do like their pass rushers. Not sure they care when they can get an athletic player who’s capable of moving around on defense.
Brett Hundley was apparently on the block during Day 2 of the draft
The Bills fired their GM Sunday morning, then cleaned house
Get ready to start hearing a lot about Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen
College players who didn't get drafted are now free to sign with any team in the NFL
Benjamin has had weight issues going back to college
As one exec put it, 'We don't know what the hell they were doing'